“Deliberate destruction carried out without military necessity is a war crime. Ordering the displacement of civilians – unless necessary for their own security or for reasons of imperative military necessity – also is a war crime.”
The briefing, based on interviews with community leaders, internally displaced people, residents, activists, and local politicians, is supported by photographic evidence of destruction and statements from officials.
“Muhayman”, whose name has been changed to protect his identity, a 40-year-old father of 10 from a village south-west of Kirkuk, has been forcibly displaced twice by Kurdish forces, first in 2015 and most recently on 25 October 2016. He described to Amnesty International how men in military uniform came to the Manshiya area of the Wahed Huzairan neighbourhood of Kirkuk city and ordered residents to leave by morning. Early the next day they were forcibly evicted and bulldozers demolished homes late into the night.
“I was ordered by Peshmerga out of my own village, so I built a home here… Now we are homeless again, and we are all sheltering with my brother. Where are we supposed to go?”
The neighbourhood, which had consisted of hundreds of houses, was razed to the ground leaving only around 10 homes standing, he said.
“Ahmed” a resident of Kirkuk city, whose home was demolished on 25 October described chaotic scenes as residents rushed to save their possessions while tractors and bulldozers rolled into the neighbourhood. He said one of his neighbours was so distressed he shot himself after his home was demolished. Other residents interviewed by Amnesty International corroborated this account.
One man who fled from Diyala to Kirkuk in August 2014 with his family said security forces openly blamed him for the IS attack.
“We give martyrs to fight Daesh [Arabic acronym for IS] and you bring them here and harbour them in these houses,” they told him.